The Socio-spatial transition of Beijing, in between communal space and associative space

Che, Fei

Abstract In this research, based on socio-spatiality as the starting point, it has conducted extensive city space analysis to advance a new urban social space theory. Resting upon the basis of traditional continent philosophy, this social space theory has adopted the structuration methods, at the same time trying to build certain combination between theoretical frame work establishment and empirical observations. Therefore, the socio-spatial transition study is neither a macro theory of traditional structuralism nor a typology of urban planning theory, or a positivism social geography, but an operative theory on practical purpose. Firstly, what’s distinct from the traditional structuralism is that this study examines the endless transiting structural relations, not macroscopic narrations of absolute definition and structure. In fact, any city and space are always co-existed in their structurational transiting relationship, thus research in transition has become the main body of this study. And case study is a must for research in transition, as part of efforts to apply the structuration concept into practice reason. Secondly, this study first establishes the fundamental structuration concept of socio-spatial transition, which, as an operative tool, is applied to conduct transition analysis on specific case about the City of Beijing. Therefore, as a social space theory, referring to as science, remains criticism of traditional continent philosophy. However, this criticism did not working on the level of ideology or conceptions, but on transiting under structural relations, keeping it from incompetent ideology criticism of continental critical theory. Unfortunately contemporary urban and space development have now gone extremely unbalanced under a background of globalization; yet traditional macro theories are incapable of either producing significant impact on practice or helping people identify practical problems. While facing general issues, particularly the Chinese urban issue category established on a meta-structured city mode, the micro-case study has plunged into dilemma for unknowing either to ask questions or to answer questions. Therefore, this study is set to identify dilemma and find direction for future relevant research. In this dissertation, Beijing is used as a model, and structuration methods as tools. It has extensively analyzed the social-spatial transition of the city space of Beijing, acquiring brand-new knowledge of its urban space development. It is helpful to an in-depth understanding of the city space development not only in Beijing, but also in many other cities that were influenced by the capital model of Beijing. Since the start of reform and opening-up, China has created a unique development mode of the new-styled metropolitan and urbanization in history. This research is expected to analyze or decode what China’s urban development in between communal space and associative space.


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Che, F., 2015. The Socio-spatial transition of Beijing, in between communal space and associative space.
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